Two off-duty policemen have shot to internet stardom with their viral video to lift community spirits through lockdown.
Tooting Town Centre PCs Mikey Knellar and Tim Watford’s ‘Haribo challenge’ video was re-posted to the Metropolitan Police Service Facebook page where it rocketed to more than 2 million views in two weeks.
These virtual celebrities have developed a reputation for producing popular online content including lip-syncs, challenges, spoofs, and a second much-anticipated Haribo video.
Police constable Knellar said: “It shows a nicer, more jovial side to policing, especially in the current times.
“At the end of the day we are police officers but once we take the uniform off we’re not, we’re just normal people so it’s nice to show the other side of policing as we as getting the message across!”
The pair were challenged by their Twitter followers to contribute to the ‘Haribo challenge’ whereby adults recreate the popular television advert, discussing sweets with their voices dubbed by children.
They used Marks and Spencer’s Percy Pigs as props to poke fun at a man who called them ‘pigs’, concluding it must have been because they were such sweeties.
We were challenged by many of our followers to take up the Haribo challenge. We accepted the challenge, adapted it #tooting style (off duty after our shift last week) and we are hoping it lifts some spirits and put some smiles on faces! Thanks to our two little actresses! 👮🏻♂️👮♂️🍬 pic.twitter.com/sIg100CyJn— Tooting Town Police (@MPSTootingTnC) March 29, 2020
The officers were quickly showered with praise on Twitter for bringing a smile to people’s faces in lockdown.
The Haribo video comes after a string of successful videos including one to warn of the dangers for dogs in hot cars and a Hot Fuzz spoof to promote their cycle patrol.
In addition to raising morale, PCs Knellar and Watford explain there are many other benefits to their social media presence.
There are currently several ongoing investigations which have come to them directly from Twitter.
They believe being in the public eye has encouraged more people than ever to come forward with information to aid investigations and keep their community safe.
PC Watford said: “When we’re out and about now we get a lot of people going out of their way to say thank you for what we’re doing which is really nice.”
This popularity is also likely to have aided them in winning the coveted Safer Neighborhoods Team of the Year award 2018 which is voted for entirely by the public.
After collecting their award at the MET Excellence Awards, they were congratulated by Princes William and Harry at Kensington Palace.
The MET Excellence Awards have been suspended this year due to Covid-19.
The officers emphasised all online content is created in their own time, a testament to their dedication and enthusiasm